A newly announced CERIC-funded project will map the career pathways and identify competencies of front-line workers in the settlement sector. Led by eCaliber Group and Calience Research and Consulting, the Settlement Services Workers Profile research project aims to better understand what front-line workers do, what steps they have taken to enter the settlement field, and what educational and work experiences have shaped their career paths.

Employment for newcomers is a significant challenge. The unemployment rate for newcomers to Canada hovers around 12%, nearly twice the national average and this does not consider the rate of underemployment. The settlement sector remains under pressure to effectively assist newcomers to actively participate in Canadian society, and to pursue meaningful lives and careers. This pressure will continue to increase in the coming years as the Canadian government works to achieve “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent Canadian history.”

Often, front-line workers in the settlement sector are the first point of contact for immigrants and refugees and play a critical role in the socioeconomic adaptation of newcomers. The research will consist of both primary and secondary research including interviews and focus groups with front-line workers and managers who work in the settlement field in urban and rural centres in Canada. The findings from this research ultimately aim to help settlement agencies respond more effectively to the changing needs of the settlement sector.

Research outcomes are expected by spring of 2019 and will help raise the profile and generate insights into career pathways of front-line workers in the settlement field. Career counsellors can use these insights to help those who aspire to enter the settlement field make better informed career decisions. In addition, managers working in settlement agencies can draw on the findings to: better identify potential candidates; provide initial and ongoing training with greater effectiveness; ensure capacity is well nurtured; and define clearer, well-organized career pathways that will enable organizations and the individuals that serve them to develop and advance together.

CERIC provides funding and other support to develop innovative career development resources. Individuals and organizations are welcome to submit project proposals for career counselling-related research or learning projects. Project proposals can align with one of CERIC’s five priority funding areas or other identified areas of need.